Thursday, July 14, 2016

July 13, 2016

This is the last entry for our mission blog.  We have had a wonderful time being missionaries, but tomorrow is our last day.  Last week we had a great time showing Jill and Ryan’s family around.  We drove over to Buffalo on July 4th and picked them up in the morning from an all-night flight.  It’s funny how LITTLE sleep you really get on an all-night flight.  They were excited to be in New York, but very tired.  We went to a park and ate a picnic lunch we had packed. They were hungry and the sandwiches hit the spot.  Then we drove to Oakfield and showed them the Lamb Dairy.  They liked that and then we drove to Lake Ontario and  home; viewing the things along the road.  We arrived around 3:00 and they took naps (except Adison, she entertained us).  We had something to eat and then drove over to Canandaigua and watched the fireworks.  We had a good time!  We were able to see and catch fireflies when we returned home.

On Tuesday we had breakfast and went to the Smith Farm, Sacred Grove, the Hill Cumorah, Nima’s pizzeria, the Martin Harris farm, and see the Temple.  They loved seeing the sites and were reverent and good doing the tours. 

On Wednesday we went into the office for about 3.5 hours and caught up on things that needed to be done and then we drove out to Lake Ontario and the kids played in the water there.  We took a lunch and had a great time.  (the sandwiches were from DiBella’s and were great)  The kids loved playing in the water and we laughed hard when they got ready to go.  The water looked a little green, but when Adie started taking off her suit—she was covered in moss.  (on the inside of the suit; go figure)  It was pretty hilarious!  We celebrated Ryan’s birthday by going out to Cheesecake Factory.  It was delicious.

Sharon Grefraith came by with her friend Evelyn and we showed her and the kids the Brigham Young baptismal spot and the Tomlinson Inn (where Phineas Young got the Book of Mormon from Samuel Smith) and then to the Tomlinson Cemetery, where Solomon Kimball (Spencer Kimball’s great grandfather) was buried and Brigham’s first wife.

Thursday we drove to Seneca Lake camp and enjoyed our time there.  We took the golf cart ride and viewed the beauties there.  We went to Fayette and were able to tour the Whitmer home and where the church was organized and the Book of Mormon translation was completed.  There were so many great things that happened there.  We then went to Sauder’s and looked around.  The Mennonite store continues to amaze me.  They have so many spices!
That night we went to the pageant.  Our neighbor, Jim, called and said the wanted to go with us and we were so happy to have him go.  Elder Merrill had told him about it about 3 weeks earlier and he hadn’t heard about it before.  It was great to have him with us.  The pageant begins about 9:15 and we enjoyed the entire performance.  We arrived home just before 12:00.

On Friday we let the kids sleep in and Jill and Elder Merrill and I went to a few garage sales.  We had a great time together.  It’s fun to find treasures and people don’t hang onto much here.  Jill was able to get her girls some really nice clothes and they were pretty happy with it.  We then took them to the Eastview Mall where they rode the carousel 3 times.  They were pretty cute!  We shopped for a while and then went home and I made pork sweet and sour.  We loved playing games together and having fun.  The kids watched some Disney movies and we had popcorn and Pina coladas.  (sounds pretty familiar for Dennis—he does this for the kids in Idaho too)
I don't remember which day it was that we went over to the Erie Canal and fed the birds, but we had a great time and Jill had her life long dream come true--to have birds land on her.  (lol!)  It was pretty funny that Brytlee caught a baby duck and then turned it loose.  Adie caught a pigeon and the mother duck came at her with a vengeance.  I guess she thought that she was the one holding the baby duck.  It was funny!

On Saturday we were able to go to the Priesthood Restoration site in Pennsylvania.  We asked our new President about leaving the mission and he gave us permission.  The site was dedicated last fall and it is very nice.  The Hale home and the home where Joseph and Emma lived were rebuilt to that time period and it was really worthwhile going there. 

The kids were a little tired from the long ride down and back, but they were good.  Elder Merrill and Ryan stopped off in Geneseo and viewed the planes that were going to be in an air show on Sunday.  (which we just happened to watch from a distance on Sunday)

Sunday morning came bright and early and we went to Batavia for church.  We were surprised by the branch after church and they had a nice, big cake for us and everyone said goodbye to us.  (we were planning to go next week, but now that may be awkward) 

After church we had a picnic and took the kids through Letchworth Park.  It was a nice day and beautiful!  The kids were happy to get home after a long day.  We relaxed and visited and played games. 

On Monday we went to office until about 2:00.  We had our one and only office meeting with President Evans.  He is going to be a great mission president.  The Harris family slept in some and then went to the Sacred Grove and the Hill Cumorah while we were at the office.  We ate at Tom Wahl’s after they came to get us and enjoyed the burgers, etc. there.  Elder Merrill bought a ‘trash plate’ but they weren’t too sure they wanted to try it.  We went to Stein Mart after and the men went another direction.  We met up at the house and then took the kids to see Mendon Park.  It still amazes me that town parks can be so big and beautiful.  We saw lots of deer in the park and the kids tried to feed them left over fries.  They looked like they were interested, but then ran away.
On Tuesday morning we had breakfast, cleaned up and drove back to Buffalo.  We went to Niagara Fall and had a great time.  We had supper at Cracker Barrel and then it was time for them to check onto their flight home.  The time went so quickly and we tried to get enough hugs, but it is impossible to get enough.  It’s good that we will be home soon.

Our plan (dare I say it out loud) is to go over to Thousand Island’s on Saturday and see Boldt Castle.  We don’t know how long that will take, so we may stay over there.  We think we may make it back to Batavia to church, but ‘see previous sentence’.  On Monday we will cram everything we brought, purchased here, or are taking home for other people into the trailer and park our car and trailer and vacate the John Young Home.  (cleaning it thoroughly)  We have tickets to fly to New York City and meet Chris, Cindy, Tessa, and Summer and see The Lion King.  We will return on Friday morning and then begin our trek home.  We will stop at Kirtland, Nauvoo, Winter Quarters, and then boogie on home. 
We are anxious to see everyone again and get back to normal.  However, we should be changed in some ways, I hope!  The gospel of Jesus Christ is what makes me happy! 

Happy Birthday to Jackie Merrill, Brad Merrill, Tate Merrill, Ryan Harris!  We love you all! 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 2, 2016

What a week!  We had 2 receptions for President and Sister Francis on Monday.  We had cookies and punch and one was held at the Kreag Rd. building from 10-12 and then we drove over to Buffalo to the Amherst building and had one there from 2-4.  They turned out really nice and they were able to talk to every missionary and have their picture taken with them all.  They said that they really enjoyed it, even though we had to really push him to do it.  We felt that they really deserved a nice send off, but he is a very humble man and didn’t want anything.  It was very nice and they will really be missed!

On Tuesday we tried to catch up on what we missed from Monday.  It seems that everyone needs something when you are really busy.  Maybe it’s like having a lot of little kids at home again; they always wanted/needed things when I was the busiest. 
Wednesday morning we met the Jones’s (he will take my place and she will take Elder Spencer’s place, and Elder Spencer will take Elder Merrill’s place).  They drove over from Michigan and we trained on Wednesday and Thursday.  We went through most everything (but he will be surprised that there are things that come up even after 18 months that you don’t have an answer for—thank goodness for Salt Lake).  They are great; they caught on really quickly.  President Francis asked us to stay late and wait until the he brought President Evans into the office to meet us on Thursday.  He picked them at the airport at 5:00 and brought them over about 5:45.  President Evans and his wife are going to be great!  He became the new mission president when the wheels of the plane hit the tarmac.

After they left and we went over to Tom Wahl’s as a group, Workman’s, Merrill’s, Spencer’s, and Jones.  The Jones came and stayed over with us and on Friday morning we took them to the airport so they could go to the MTC and learn how to do things correctly.
We had MLC (mission leadership council) Friday and we served Hawaiian haystack/Chinese sundaes or whatever you would like to call them.  I didn’t get enough rice cooked at noon so we had to cross our fingers and hope that we could get enough before they finished eating.  It turned out alright, but it was nerve-racking.  We had made plans with Elder and Sister Nalder (from Malad) to meet them at the 6:00 session at the Temple, so we were anxious to leave the office.  However, MLC went late (HOW does anyone sit in a meeting from 10-4:30?) and President Evans wanted to visit about the time we were to leave.  He is really nice.  He said that one of the trainers at the MTC for mission presidents said this, “your calling is like going on a cruise and you come here and get fed well and learn lots of things and have spiritual experiences, and then we drop you off in the middle of the ocean and wave goodbye to you”.  Sounds about right!  We had to excuse ourselves and we made it to the Temple with a couple minutes to spare.  We went out to Athenia’s afterward and enjoyed visiting with them and the Spencer’s. 
The Spencer’s are so excited, 2 of their boys and families are coming tonight.  They haven’t seen any of their kids since Oct. and they are ready!  I feel the same way, we are so excited to see the Harris family on Monday. 
We have had several weeks (I think 4) without rain and we did get a little bit on Friday.  It was really needed, but it won’t fix things.  It will probably be wet during the pageant, but I don’t think it will rain during the pageant. 
My toe is healing very well and feels fine.  I’m pretty sure that I will lose the nail as the one side is not in it’s proper place.  Sister Spencer’s son (a podiatrist) will look at it tonight and give his opinion.  I tried to talk Elder Merrill into pulling it out, but he refused!  Last Saturday we went to a few garage sales with the Spencer’s, and we kidnapped them and took them to Batavia to help us move Sandra and Susan.  There were 2 from the Elder’s quorum, 2 young missionaries, and us 4 old people.  The ladies had a 2nd story apartment they had more stuff in it than I could imagine.  I began to think ahead to the days of moving things at home and they began to be very daunting.  OH, that I should have sorted out the old and got rid of the junk, dearest me!  Well, back to the moving story—it was so hot and everyone was sweating profusely.  They didn’t have any bottled water or glasses for drinking water.  I said I would go get water and be back and Sister Spencer said—“I’m coming too”  (she wasn’t going to be left)  We went and got water and when we were walking back to the car I looked down at the pavement and there was a nice bandage (in the shape of a toe) laying there on the ground.  I had lost the bandage and hadn’t realized it.  It looked so funny, we laughed pretty hard!
We were exhausted when we were through with that service project.  She had told Elder Merrill that her nephews were coming to load the boxes and get the truck at U-haul.  All we needed to do is help move the furniture.  The nephews didn’t show up and everything needed to be done.  PHEW!  The young elders said they had to go at 5:00 for a dinner appointment.  I thought about it a few minutes and went to them and said, “would you please call your appointment and delay it for a hour?  We’re old people and we will die if we don’t have your help.”  They were able to help us get finished, and we lived!

Every day we get more anxious to be home with our family and friends again.  It looks like we will be reporting our mission (or whatever you call it now) on July 31.  I don’t know about a picnic or anything afterwards as we don’t have a home, (yet) but we will probably do something.  I’m thinking about what to say and wonder if I should have been assigned a topic.